Posted in 1978, Challenger, Dodge

Unrestored 1978 Dodge Challenger Features the Plaidest Interior That Ever Plaided – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements

It’ll be tough to find another car quite like this 1978 Dodge Challenger listed for sale on Hemmings.com. Granted, it would be tough to find another running 1978 Dodge Challenger at all, let alone one that hasn’t succumbed to rust and neglect. But to find one still wearing its sundown stripes and with an interior positively covered in plaid, well, that’s rare. The paint looks tired, and there’s some damage around the taillamps that needs attention, but the car is unmodified and has a five-speed. From the seller’s description:

Completely original and left untouched, hopping in this Challenger is like stepping back in time. With a 2.6 liter engine and 5 speed, manual transmission, this car runs and drives like it just came off the lot in 1979. It passed our driving test with flying colors and would absolutely make an excellent daily driver. The body is in good shape, with no major damage or rust. There are some slight scuffs on the driver side, rear fender (see pictures) but that’s about it. Original orange paint, stripes and top are all in solid condition. The trunk space is clean and dry. It even comes with a spare tire! The upholstery inside is as cool as it gets. Plaid on the door panels and seats looks awesome. Slight weather wear in the backseat is all in this otherwise nearly flawless interior. Original overhead console is still functional, the original am-fm radio still works great too. This is a mechanically sound car that is ready for anything.

Read on

Posted in 1968, Charger, Dodge, Hemmings

Transforming a rust-infested 383 Dodge Charger into a show winner – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings

Advertisements

John Hoffman was just 14 years old when the magnificently redesigned Charger was set loose for 1968, and he was convinced even then that someday he’d own an exquisite example of the breed. “I was in junior high school, and I thought it was the prettiest car I’d ever seen,” he remembers. “Then Bullitt was released and that sealed the deal for me. My friends liked the Mustang, but I was the Charger guy. I own that movie and still watch it once a year.

”John’s perceptions are representative of many who venerate Steve McQueen’s classic cop drama, which features one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, and has elevated the 1968 Charger to a pop culture icon. The Dodge’s allure isn’t limited to its cinematic appearance, however, as its engaging design continues to mesmerize even jaded muscle car fans.

All the Charger’s curves and creases were in just the right places. Its Coke-bottle shape, broad grille with concealed headlamps, flying-buttress roof that looked like a semi-fastback from the side but featured a recessed backlite, “racing-style” gas cap, and even the taillights conspired to create a muscular and cohesive visual presentation.

By the early 2000s, with vintage car values rising, John began getting that now-or-never feeling. The Telford, Pennsylvania, resident knew he’d better buy his ’68 before he was priced out of the market. His finances still wouldn’t allow a fully restored example, so he instead sought out one that needed work but was mostly original.

In August 2003, he spotted this Charger online, for sale in Kansas City, Missouri. It was an early build car and was desirably optioned with the 330-hp 383 V-8 with dual exhausts, TorqueFlite automatic, 3.23:1 Sure Grip rear end, air conditioning, tinted windows, driver’s-side remote-control outside mirror, cruise control, radio, center cushion with armrest between the bucket seats, power steering, and power brakes.

John noted that it still had its factory-applied F5 green paint and assembly-line-installed interior and powertrain. He says, “I liked this car because it was very original and seemed like it must have been ordered by an older buyer who didn’t mess around with it.”

Read on

Posted in 1958, Car Restoration, Dodge, Hemmings

A 1958 Dodge Royal Lancer battles back from project car to show winner – Jim Black @Hemmings

Advertisements
Big fins and wide whitewalls were all the rage in the late ’50s and no one did it better than the Chrysler divisions. Dual exhausts were an extra cost option. Jim Black

United States car sales slumped in 1958 due to a nationwide recession, but, on the heels of a successful 1957, Dodge rolled out an updated lineup. The division’s 1958 cars were longer, lower, wider, more colorful, and sported an abundance of chrome. Plus, Dodge’s model offerings consisted of the entry-level Coronet, the Royal, the Custom Royal, and a new, top-of-the-line Regal Lancer. Dodge described them as the “Swept-Wing” 1958s in all of its marketing brochures.

Phil Shaw, from Auburn, Nebraska, is a 64-year-old retired UPS driver and Mopar enthusiast of the first order. Phil was looking for a retirement project that spanned the 1957-’59 Dodges when he came across a 1958 Dodge for sale online. The owner was from Norway, the ad was confusing to read, and a gallery of low-quality photos made it difficult to determine the car’s overall condition.

“The owner told me he had purchased the car online, from a seller in Bradenton, Florida, and then had it shipped to a shop in Rosenberg, Texas, to begin the restoration,” Phil says. “But after some work had been done he halted the restoration. He found out a short time later that he was terminally ill with cancer and decided not to see the job through.”

An RCA record player was a rare option not found on many cars of this era. The 45-rpm player held 13 records and played them upside down, so that the weight of the record kept the needle from skipping.

At that point, the car had also been completely disassembled and media blasted, and the shop had performed some sheetmetal repair on the floorpans and trunk floor. Reluctantly, Phil decided to bid on the ’58, not sure exactly what to expect since he had not seen the car in person. He won the auction and purchased the car in January of 2011. No other potential buyers bid against him, which sent up another red flag.

“I picked the car up a few days later. All the window glass had been discarded, and all the parts were in boxes and not well identified,” Phil says. “I examined the bare body and saw that a lot of rust repair was needed around the back window, but the rest of the body seemed to be solid and in good shape.”

Read on

Posted in Barn Find, Barn Finds, Dodge, Truck

You couldn’t steal this ARMORED DODGE TRUCK if you tried!! – Dennis Collins @CoffeeWalk

Advertisements

Welcome to Coffee Walk Ep. 153! This week I loaded up the truck and trailer with my son, Connor, to head down south to Mount Pleasant, Texas to buy a 1940’s Armored Dodge Truck that is so ugly… it’s actually beautiful!! Special thanks to our #1 finder in the Nation, Mike Tabbi, for the lead and to “Mount Pleasant Burgers & Fries” for getting us fed- that sure was a dang good burger!

Posted in 1970's, 4x4, Dodge, Ford, GM, Jeep

Which one of these 4×4 trucks from the early Seventies would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

Advertisements

Believe it or not, the ancestral lineage of the modern four-wheel-drive system dates to 1893. Bramah Joseph Diplock, an English engineer, patented a four-wheel-drive system that year, designed for a steam-powered traction engine. The concept was then adopted by would-be dignitaries in the self-propelled industry, including Ferdinand Porsche (in 1899), Daimler-Benz (1907), Marmon-Herrington (1931), and a host of others, including American Bantam, which designed the prototype general purpose vehicle that famously became the jeep built by Willys and Ford during World War II. Three decades later, the 4×4 drive system – offered by multiple corporations – had attained a long-established reputation for uncompromising off-road durability. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating 4×4 vehicles from the early Seventies. Let’s take a closer look at four examples for you to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

Arguably, Jeep made the 4×4 vehicle both fun and affordable for the masses with a contemporary system that was truly battle-tested. Its proliferation beyond what became the CJ was hard to miss, offered in larger platforms such as this Commando-based Super Commando II from 1972. This was one of but a couple years in which the Commando line did not include the Jeepster name, and convertibles, like our featured vehicle, came standard with a removable hardtop, V-8 engine and, of course, the four-wheel-drive system. According to portions of the seller’s listing

The Commando had its own new front end and unique sheetmetal that made it one of the most distinctive Jeeps in decades. What makes this one even more distinct is it’s done in range-topping Super Commando II trim. While we don’t have the paperwork to confirm an SC2, the appearance absolutely shows the premium feeling correctly…The darker blue streak highlights the power bulge in the hood, and the full-length stripe is a reminder that these had flush-fitting front fenders…The sea of blue continues inside, and it shows off quite a comfy interior. You have high-back bucket seats with a velour pattern, and the door panels were even done to match…the dash has a great classic look with a clean pad, factory speedometer, heat/defrost controls, and even the locking hub instructions are still affixed. You’ll also notice well-integrated upgrades for more confident driving, including the auxiliary gauges…This optional 304 cubic-inch unit looks authentic and authoritative under the hood…A three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and Goodyear tires make for a good all-around cruiser…Plus, don’t forget as a true jeep you have a proper two-speed 4×4 transfer case.

Read on

Posted in Chrysler, Engine, Hemi, Hemi, Mopar

What is a Hemi? – Dan Carney @DesignNews

Advertisements

Have you spotted a Mopar hot rod and wondered, “That thang got a Hemi innit?

Chrysler vehicles have long been renowned for their Hemi V8 engines, which are legendary for their power and performance. Remember the silly “That thang got a Hemi innit?” commercials from the aughts, with the two goofball fanboys interrogating owners of new Dodge vehicles about their engine status?

Most people know that a Hemi means performance, but how many people actually know what “hemi” means? That’s why we’re here. “Hemi” is a reference to the engine’s combustion chamber shape. It is short for “semi-hemispherical,” which means that the combustion chamber space cast into the engine’s heads looks like it was carved out with an ice cream scoop.

Chrysler vehicles have long been renowned for their Hemi V8 engines, which are legendary for their power and performance. Remember the silly “That thang got a Hemi innit?” commercials from the aughts, with the two goofball fanboys interrogating owners of new Dodge vehicles about their engine status?

Most people know that a Hemi means performance, but how many people actually know what “hemi” means? That’s why we’re here. “Hemi” is a reference to the engine’s combustion chamber shape. It is short for “semi-hemispherical,” which means that the combustion chamber space cast into the engine’s heads looks like it was carved out with an ice cream scoop.

“If you cut a ball in half, the rounded top is the combustion chamber shape,” explained Brandt Rosenbush, company historian for Chrysler, which is now part of a company called “Stellantis” following the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with Peugeot.

A semi-hemispherical combustion chamber has the minimal possible surface-area-to-volume ratio, so less energy is lost as heat through the combustion chamber’s surface, said Rosenbush. It also enjoys good volumetric efficiency because the dome combustion chamber shape provides ample room for large intake and exhaust valves.

Read on

Posted in 1970's, Buick, Dodge, Ford, Hemmings, Matt Litwin, Nascar, Pontiac

NASCAR downsized: Which one of these sell-on-Monday cars would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

Advertisements

Word on the street was that Detroit was introducing downsized cars for 1977. When NASCAR got wind during the ’76 season, it began exploring the idea of initiating a rule change that would mandate a 110-inch wheelbase chassis, versus the then-current 115-inch design. But once that process began, developmental cost was a concern, prompting Bill France Jr. to issue a statement: “Eventually, we will have to follow Detroit’s trend. In order to curb expenses, the teams will be permitted to use equipment they already have instead of letting new equipment become obsolete in a short time.” The changes Bill hinted at were finally scribed into the 1981 rule book, with one exception: the outgoing cars would be permitted to race at the season opener at Riverside International Raceway (in Riverside, California) on January 11. Bobby Allison won at the helm of a 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. New downsized cars were permitted to compete side-by-side, even though they were not fully mandated yet. Dale Earnhardt finished third in one such Grand Prix, owned by Rod Osterlund.

Posted in Chrysler, Daniel Strohl, Dodge, Engine, Hemi, Hemi, Hemmings

Twenty years ago, Chrysler unleashed a pandemonium of third-gen Hemi V-8s. Here’s how to tell them apart – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Advertisements

While many cars and trucks of the Eighties and Nineties dispelled the notion that American performance died off with the original muscle cars, it took an entirely new engine—one more powerful and less expensive to produce than its predecessor—to reignite the horsepower wars and usher in a new golden age. The Hemi V-8 has since become a standard-bearer for Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep vehicles, and its basic engine architecture has spawned more than a dozen configurations, some of them difficult to discern from others. For that reason, we’ve put together this spotters guide to the third-gen Hemi family of engines.

What sets the Hemi apart

Teased in the 2000 Chrysler 300 Hemi C and the 2001 Dodge Super8 Hemi, the new 5.7-liter Hemi (Chrysler stylizes it as HEMI, but for expediency’s sake, we will not) debuted in the 2003 Dodge Ram pickups, featuring a deep-skirt cross-bolted iron block, aluminum heads, overhead valves, 4.46-inch bore spacing, the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the Chrysler LA-series V-8s, coil-on-plug ignition, composite intake manifolds, multipoint fuel injection, and that controversial head design.

Early (2003-2008) 5.7L Hemi heads, top; Eagle heads, bottom

Like the second-generation 426 Hemi, the 5.7L Hemi heads featured opposed valves for a true crossflow design, twin spark plugs, and rocker shafts. The third-generation Hemi did not, however, feature a full hemispherical combustion chamber. Instead, Chrysler’s engineers decided to flatten either side of the combustion chamber to improve combustion efficiency and emissions.

Some might argue that doesn’t make the engines true Hemis, but then again, the Hemi V-8s of yore were massive, heavy engines that cost a lot to machine and that wouldn’t meet modern-day fuel-efficiency or emissions requirements.

David Kimble cutaway illustration of the 5.7L truck engine.

Read on

Posted in Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GM, pickups, Truck, Truck, trucks

8 trucks that deserve another shot – Brandan Gillogly @Hagerty

Advertisements

A year ago, we looked at some vehicles that had ambitious goals and yet fell short in one way or another. We argued that those four vehicles deserved another chance. Now, let’s focus on pickups that also meet those criteria. Here are eight pickups that offered up cargo hauling with some blend of comfort, fuel economy, or off-road prowess, but which nevertheless fell by the wayside as the tried-and-true crew-cab pickup swallowed the market. Is there room in today’s market for any of these to stage a comeback?

Chevrolet Avalanche (2001–13)

When the Avalanche debuted, it offered a novel solution for those who needed both passenger- and cargo-carrying capacity. Chevrolet’s solution was the Mid-Gate, which enabled the partition between the cab and bed to fold down and the backlite to stow, allowing for the rear seats to give way to an 8-foot cargo bed. Admittedly it had its drawbacks; dropping the Mid-Gate opened the passenger cabin to the elements unless the multi-piece tonneau was left in place. On the other hand, with the tonneau off, it was the closest we’ve come to duplicating the K5 Blazer’s removable top.

The Avalanche also offered another benefit. Because it was built on the Suburban’s chassis, every Avalanche came with a coil-spring rear suspension. The Avalanche beat the Ram 1500 to the punch by about eight years and was the first full-size 4×4 pickup on the market to offer such a suspension setup. It was also the first 2WD pickup with coil springs from GM since they left production in Chevy and GMC pickups in 1972.

A new Avalanche, again built on the Suburban chassis, would benefit from an independent rear suspension and the low bed floor that would come with it. We’d wager that most drivers would sacrifice the payload capacity that can come with leaf springs for the improved ride quality of a multi-link suspension, just like they did before.

Avalanche critics have lambasted the unique truck-utility-vehicle as being essentially a Suburban with extra rattles. True, the lack of a rear roof section and the open midgate would both remove rigidity from the body and add a source of noise, but we think that GM’s pickups and utility vehicles have firmed up a lot since the second-generation Avalanche debuted in 2007.

Read on

Posted in AMC, Cadillac, Dodge, Ford, Hemmings

Which one of these four cars from the start of the “downsized era” would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

Advertisements

The dawn of Detroit’s downsized era in the late Seventies was probably long overdue. The bigger-is-better attitude had cost consumers a ton (pardon the pun) thanks to a series of circumstances that included, but were not limited to, a fuel crisis, emission and safety regulations, and rapidly changing CAFE standards.

The necessary diet, however, turned out to be a breath of fresh air in some regards, taken in steps and planned appropriately enough so that handling, comfort, and cabin space – all things most Americans thoroughly enjoyed – was not sacrificed.

A perfect example was Oldsmobile’s Cutlass, which set a staggering production record after shedding its bulk. So, in our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating the beginning of the downsized era, which was administered in steps that began in earnest in 1977. As always, we’re delivering just four examples to your inbox to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

Read on